The sun setting over the St. John's Bridge, a large, blue-green suspension bridge.

Book Genres and the Best Portland Parks To Read Them In

If there’s anything Portlanders can agree on, it’s that we love our green space. Take a stroll within any one of Portland’s whopping 154 Parks and you’re sure to notice all kinds of park-goers: the picnickers, the dog walkers, the bubble blowers, the spikeballers . . . but keep your senses tuned and you’ll notice the quiet force of another kind of park-goer: the readers. Usually tucked beneath the shadiest trees with a cozy blanket and perhaps a few snacks, these bookworms understand the importance of a beautiful environment when it comes to enjoying literature. But with so many parks to choose from—all with their own unique flair and personalities—how are Portlanders supposed to decide where to bring their newest literary conquest? Good news! I’ve compiled a list of popular book genres and the Portland parks they can be best enjoyed at. The next time you crave that fresh pacific air and a cozy reading session, you can easily decide where to head.

Romance: Laurelhurst Park

From the nervous first date by the pond to the couple pushing the boundaries on PDA, one lap around Laurelhurst Park is all you need to see that romance is simply in the air there. It’s not a far stretch to imagine your own beloved protagonists strolling through the park’s regal pathways or the historic winding streets of the surrounding Laurelhurst neighborhood–making this park the perfect fit for your newest romance read.

Classics: Washington Park

As one of the oldest and largest parks in Portland, Washington Park in northwest Portland provides the sense of history and drama requisite for enjoying a good classic. Dust off your favorite Brontë or Steinbeck and head to this Portland favorite to make those classic stories come alive in a new way.

Sci-Fi: Elizabeth Caruthers Park

If you’re looking for a futuristic vibe in Portland (though some may argue that’s an Oxymoron), look no further than Elizabeth Caruthers Park. Positioned beneath the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) sky tram and the tall, modern, glassy buildings of the Southwest Waterfront, this park calls to mind many popular sci-fi themes, such as technology, healthcare, artificial intelligence, and dystopia.

Children’s: Westmoreland Park

If there’s a little one in your life, packing up your favorite children’s books and heading to Westmoreland Park in Portland’s Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood is a must. Let the kiddos get some energy out playing on this park’s beautiful nature-based playground and then settle down with a cozy, educational read (bonus points for nature themes in the book itself).

Poetry: Peninsula Park

Peninsula Park in north Portland is home to a public rose garden, a gorgeous fountain, and a historical bandstand. The park’s stunning landscaping and historic architecture create a cerebral quality perfect for enjoying poetry both old and new.

Literary Fiction: Cathedral Park

The sophisticated, serene nature of Cathedral Park makes it a perfect place for literary fiction lovers to crack the code on their latest lyrical masterpiece. Situated in the St. Johns neighborhood directly under the majestic St. Johns Bridge, this park is also the perfect place to capture the obligatory #Bookstagram story featuring the gorgeous, artful covers associated with the genre.

Nonfiction: Mt. Tabor Park

We’ve gone a little broad here, but at 176 acres in size, Mt. Tabor Park in southeast Portland has enough room for a whole host of nonfiction titles. That being said, the best fit might be nonfiction titles about geology, geography, or geochemistry. Mt. Tabor is actually a volcanic cinder cone. The more you know!

While we can’t come close to hitting each book genre or each of Portland’s many parks, hopefully this guide can be a jumping off point next time you decide to take your reading to the great outdoors. The perfect book-park pairing is sure to enhance your reading experience and provide a wonderful way to explore our city’s vast array of unique parks and green spaces. Happy reading!

This image shows a table from a birds eye view with hands out on the table in collaboration. There are books, pencils, coffee, and food on the table.

Bookish Meetups in Portland: A Guide to Find Other Booklovers in the City

A book lover in a big city can seem like an oxymoron. A vast majority of the book community are introverts and it can be hard to find others like ourselves, but the good news is that Portland is known for its lively book culture. Here are a few places to visit for events and meetups so you can find other like-minded individuals in a big city!

An obvious event would be the Portland Book Festival. This book-friendly city is home to an annual book festival. Last year’s book festival was held on November 5, 2022 and contained author lineups, writing workshops, pop-up readings, and an extensive collection of book people. This annual event is a perfect opportunity to be encompassed by book lovers from all over the city. To keep updated on tickets and location check out

If you are looking for a place more consistent and intimate, the Rose City Book Pub will be your refuge. When you first walk in, your eyes immediately draw up to the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf jammed with an extensive book collection, which is just a warm hug to any fan of the literary world. They hold community events, music, art, open mics, and discussion. It is also a place for people to retreat to a corner to work or read alone. They carry beer, wine, books, and food for their customers to enjoy. For someone in any sect of the book industry or someone simply a book fanatic, this pub is a great place to connect and even make friends. To check out upcoming events, look up their Instagram @rose_city_book_pub.

Diving further into the book and alcohol fusion, the Workers Tap in Southeast Portland is another great venue for literary events. Just from the outside, this pub is housed in a comfy Victorian-style house and is adorned with string lights. This building is a vessel for writing workshops with communities like Eastside Poetry Workshop and author meetups. In an article in Willamette Weekly, Corbin Smith describes the extensive library, “Essential to this ideas-focused bar is a library on the top floor: several bookshelves holding a few hundred books regarding union organizing, LGBTQ+ rights, anarchism, radical environmentalism and anti-imperialist struggle.” To check out upcoming events, you can visit their Instagram @workerstap.

Along with these three literary hubs, Portland is stuffed with independent bookstores, libraries, and pop-up book events. Starting out with these few places mentioned, a fellow book lover will be able to grow their community and connections as well as make friends scattered across the city.

magazine with smoothie and flowers

Magazines & The Publishing World

Magazines and books both have a long standing in the publishing industry. For a long time, the magazine industry specifically has relied on ad revenue to maintain a steady flow of income. Now that advertisers are forced to be more specific with their spending, publishers are left to figure out how to fill that space. But, thankfully, it’s not all bad news! Excitement in magazines is growing, and some publications are seeing their subscription numbers peak. So, what’s going on? How are magazines now coping in our digital age and an ongoing pandemic? And how is the industry specifically in Portland doing?

While publishers are working through these tough questions around books and magazines, every cloud has its silver lining. With many of us finding ourselves with more time on our hands over the last two years, reading magazines has become more popular than ever.

According to Forbes, nearly sixty new magazine titles were launched and published in 2020. “What accounts for the fact that people are still launching new magazines at all? Aren’t these erstwhile publishers cognizant of recent trends in American journalism, like the supposed crises afflicting print media; the commercial imperatives that make the economics of print news products a Herculean challenge; not to mention myriad other obstacles?

“Now, the fact remains—the number of magazines launched in 2020 is considerably down from what 2019 produced on this front (when the industry saw the launch of 139 titles, per Professor Husni, which feels so long ago now that it seems like one of the last of the go-go years of print). But the million-dollar question is nevertheless crying out for an answer: “People still believe there is a need for print. People are stuck at home, bombarded by bad news. They are looking for diversions.””

It’s true that the impact of the pandemic and shifts in consumer behavior are transforming the book publishing and magazine industry. To better understand how these trends will shape the future of magazines, publishing house Walsworth reached out to industry expert Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni, PhD. Husni is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He engages in media consulting and research for the magazine media and publishing industry.

“Our conversation with Mr. Magazine ranged from how publishers can build better business models to account for declining ad revenue, to the booming trend of bookazines, in-depth special edition magazines on a single topic, and beyond. The following conversation has been edited for content and clarity.

“I wish I could say it’s something that sticks. We’re seeing it implemented more than ever before. But I recall back during the 2008 recession, magazine executives were saying we have to change the business model and be in the business of circulation and depending more on the consumer. Then the minute the economy started picking up, they went back to their old ways. But this time because of the magnitude of the impact I think it will be different, and because there are so many other outlets for advertisers like emails and text messaging. Advertisers know how to reach their customers; they don’t need a third party to sell their stuff. There’s a major change taking place, and whether it shifts to bookazines or quarterly magazines, there is less dependence on advertisers and more dependence on people reaching into their pockets and spending up to fifteen dollars for a magazine. So, the content of the magazine better be experience-making content that is timely yet timeless—it’s not going to make a difference whether I read the magazine today, tomorrow, or next month. That’s where we’re going to be seeing the big change; magazines are going to be the only non-disposable media platform.””

I find this fascinating as someone who always waited for the mail to come, hoping for the next issue of my faerie or party supply magazine. Now that I live in a city with one of the largest Zine libraries and a robust indie magazine scene, I now have even more options. Here are some of my favorites:

So, whatever the future holds, it is clear that the demand for magazines will remain. In the midst of great uncertainty, the human mind craves information and entertainment like never before. And, I reckon there are few things that scratch that itch like a good magazine or zine.

The words "fight today for a better tomorrow" written on a cardboard sign held by someone in a crowd

Remembering Michael Munk, Author of THE PORTLAND RED GUIDE

One year after his passing, Ooligan Press remembers and honors Michael Munk, author of The Portland Red Guide. The Portland Red Guide explores the history of social dissent, labor movements, and leftist politics in the City of Roses, illuminating stories and struggles often overlooked in your average history textbook. Like his book, Munk’s life and writings were intertwined with Portland’s political history.

Born in Prague in 1934, Munk and his family fled the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, arriving in Portland in 1939. His alma maters include Hillside School, Lincoln High School, Reed College, and the University of Oregon, where he earned an MA in political science. In the 1950s, Munk was involved in a variety of leftist political activities including opposing nuclear testing, fighting against the firing of Reed College professor Stanley Moore, and serving as vice president of the Young Democrats of Oregon.

Munk was forced to leave Oregon by the federal government in 1959. He moved to New York where he continued his education and earned a PhD in politics from New York University. Over the next twenty-five years, he taught political science. Munk retired early and returned to Portland in the 1990s.

In a 2016 interview with Ooligan Press, Munk shared how retirement gave him time to further explore his interest in radical history and why the City of Roses was an ideal place to do this.

“The idea of doing it in Portland was inspired by living near the birthplace of John Reed. My idea was that in the same way that all the conventional historic sites related to the dominant narrative of history are considered to be inspiring places (Mount Vernon, etc.), why not try to stimulate people by introducing them to sites that evoke a different side of history?”

The Portland Red Guide was published in 2007 and a second edition was released in 2011. The first edition of the book received considerable praise, as highlighted on its page at Powell’s City of Books.

“Michael Munk is the Lewis and Clark of Portland’s radical past, leading his readers on a voyage of discovery through a long-lost and wonderfully evocative historical terrain. I only wish the Red Guide had been around in the days when I was one of those Portland radicals he writes about with such knowledge (and affection).” — Maurice Isserman, author of If I Had a Hammer: The Death of the Old Left and the Birth of the New Left

The book includes maps and walking tours, bringing a strong sense of physicality to the exploration of Portland’s political past.

“Going to these addresses can bring to mind what has gone before and perhaps, encourage more resistance today. I had no idea so much has happened in Portland. And reading the names of people who struggled and whom I worked with brought up lots of memories.” — Sandra Ford, former wife of Black Panther Party leader Kent Ford.

Beyond this book, Munk’s writings were published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Science & Society, Portland Monthly, and Reed Magazine.

As reported by the Oregonian, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission president David Milholland expressed last year that “Mike Munk will be missed, and his enthusiasm and influence will be a guiding force in creative and historical circles far into the future.”